The month of June marks 25 years of being absolutely gorgeous for Dallas-based Watters designs! We couldn’t be more excited to take you behind the scenes to talk with Vatana Watters herself about building the business, creating fab gowns and what’s next for the design diva!
Q: Tell us about beginning the business 25 years ago…
A: I moved to Dallas after graduating from FIDM in LA. The reason we picked Dallas over LA or NYC was that it’s a friendly place to start a new business, centrally located, and back then had a thriving fashion industry. We loved it’s southern hospitality and had met many people in the industry willing to help a start-up business. I worked at Dallas Mart and moonlighted designing and producing bridesmaid’s dresses at night and weekends. It was a thrilling time, even though I spent nearly every waking moment working. After designing custom bridesmaid dresses we took the next step and started selling to local bridal salons including Neiman Marcus and The Bridal Salon at Stanley Korshak. When I look back at our beginning I still feel very fortunate that most great opportunities have come my way by being based in Dallas.
Q: What inspires your fashions?
A: I’m a visual person and I am drawn to things that are interesting. I collect images in my mind. Many dresses have found their way into the collection through my recollection of details from my travels, flowers, vintage finds, fabrics, laces, embroideries and beadings, books, magazines, media, and of course real brides. I’m fortunate to work with such a talented design team, we share our inspirations and many of the best ideas come from these collaborations.
Q: If you could pick only one, what is your all-time favorite dress you’ve designed?
A: This is a tough question since I have many favorites! If I must pick one gown it would be Torrean, it’s a stunning gown. (pictured above) It’s a perfect dress with all the elements, re-embroidered lace in Duchess silk satin, strapless a-line, lace flower beaded appliqués. This gown was significant for us as our success had always been in the bridesmaid’s category. Torrean put us in the bridal spotlight and established us a force in the bridal category. Torrean continues to be a jewel in our crown.
Q: What are some of the challenges with designing bridal gowns?
A: Bridal gowns will be worn by brides on one of the most important days of her life and with that in mind our challenge is to design gown with our Watters signature while making sure with keep the brides on our minds. We think of the variety of bridal venues. Will she get marry in a formal setting, outdoors, destination weddings? We design gowns at different price points keeping in mind that all weddings have budgets. We think of the different body types. Then we have to put it all together and select fabrics, trims, inside foundation constructions etc.
Q: What is your favorite fabric to work with?
A: I think of lace as a favorite fabric. Lace is timeless traditional and yet can be modern. It is tricky to work with lace. The lace pattern, width, weight dictates how design can incorporate lace into a gown. The finished gown using lace can be truly amazing.
Q: What are the current trends in bridal fashion? What are your favorite trends?
A: Spring 2012 trends:
- Lace – allover lace gowns, lace appliqués on lace, organza, tulle.
- Accessory added on to the gowns – beaded belts, flower cluster sashes, horsehair/ribbon belts.
- One shoulder styles – sheered to one side, ruffles to one side
- Illusion styles – tulle as wraps to cover necklines and shoulders and yet see through.
- Silhouettes – ball gowns, fullers A-line, fit and flare hemlines, V-neck and strapless necklines.
My favorite trend this season is the manipulation of fabric swirled to form flowers, ruffles, flowers, pleated drapes.
Q: What’s a typical day like, in the life of Vatana Watters?
A: I check the calendar on my Ipad over a cup of coffee first thing to see what is scheduled for the day. During the summer months we are in design mode. Design meetings take precedent over most everything else. Lunch is usually with Maria Prince, Senior VP Sales & Marketing outside of our studio. We catch up on all areas of business over lunch and many inspirations arise of our time together. My job is not typical, I may spend time in other cities or countries working. I may be in New York, Chicago, or London for product launches and market. I may be in Hong Kong/China for production meetings. I may be in Los Angeles, Miami, or New York City for a photo shoot. All in a day’s work!
We are loving her new collection and can’t wait to see more beautiful designs…cheers to the next 25 years! Be sure to check out her styles locally at Bliss Bridal Salon, Bridal Boutique, Stardust Celebrations and The Bridal Salon at Stanley Korshak.